It is known that there are two polar points of view on the actions of the battleship (squadron battleship) "Glory" during the fighting in Moonund during the First World War. Many sources call the battle path of this battleship heroic. However, there is another opinion “on the Internet” - that the battleship was used ineffectively, besides for the whole time of the battles, I never got to anyone, and therefore did not do anything heroic.
In addition, the actions of the battleship “Glory” periodically fall into the focus of discussions of a different kind. For a long time supporters and opponents of the “big fleet"They break their spears on the topic that would be more effective for the Russian Empire - the creation of linear squadrons capable of defeating the enemy in a general battle, or the construction of relatively small armadillos or monitors designed for defense in mine-artillery positions.
In the cycle of articles brought to your attention, we will try to understand how the battleship “Glory” showed itself in battles with the Kaiser fleet and how justified is such a form of naval combat as the defense of a mine-artillery position.
The Russian battleship met four times with the superior forces of the Germans in mine-artillery positions: three times in 1915 and once - in 1917, with the last meeting being fatal for Glory. Consider these "meetings" in more detail.
In the 1915 year Admiralshtab concentrated in the Baltic Sea enormous forces: 8 7 old dreadnoughts and battleships, 3 2 linear and armored cruisers, light cruisers 7, 54 destroyers and torpedo boats, submarines 3, 34 minesweeper, minelayer and auxiliary ships. With these forces the Germans were going to carry out a large-scale operation in the area of the Moonsund Archipelago, defended by the Russians.
The operation had three objectives:
1) Support for German troops advancing towards Riga. To this end, the fleet was to force the Irbensky Strait and invade the Gulf of Riga, from where German ships could support the coastal flank of the advancing army.
2) Prevent the Russian fleet from supporting its army. For this purpose it was intended to destroy the Russian naval forces in the Moonsund archipelago and to set up a minefield in the strait connecting the Gulf of Finland and Riga. This strait was too shallow for dreadnoughts, but quite sufficient for the passage of gunboats, destroyers and cruisers. Having blocked it, the Germans could not fear the impact of Russian naval artillery on their ground forces in the battles for Riga and the mouth of the Dvina.
3) Destruction of the main forces of the Baltic Fleet. It was assumed that the most modern and powerful German ships (dreadnoughts and battle cruisers) would not take part in the storming of the Irbensky Strait - the old battleships of the 4 squadron were planned to be sent there. They would have acted as bait, because they gave the Russians a great temptation to bring into the sea their only brigade of the Dreadnoughts (four battleships like “Sevastopol”) that could easily crush the old German ships. But in this case, 11 battleships and battle cruisers of the High Sea Fleet would be waiting for them, who didn’t have much difficulty cutting off retreat routes to the Gulf of Finland and then destroying them. This, in the opinion of the admiral headquarters, would put an end to any active actions of the Russian fleet in the Baltic - not that they were so effective in 1914 and the beginning of 1915, but were pretty annoying to the Germans.
In accordance with the above, only the 4-I squadron was sent to the Irbensky Strait, which included, in addition to the minesweepers and the minelayer, 7 of old battleships of the dodrednaught type, accompanied by light cruisers and destroyers.
For the Russian command, this plan was not a surprise, they knew about it and were preparing for opposition. But in Moonsund there were only light forces and it was clear that they would not reflect such a large-scale invasion. Therefore, it was decided to send them to the aid of a heavy ship, which was supposed to be the "core" of Moonsund's defense. There was not much to choose from: there was no point in risking dreadnoughts, driving them into the mousetrap of the Gulf of Riga. As for the battleships, the benefits of the ships of the type “Andrew the First-Called” slightly exceeded those of “Glory” or “Tsesarevich”, while the latter, having a smaller draft, would feel much more confident among the shallow waters of the Moonsund archipelago.
The battleship "Glory" in the campaign 1914-15
As a result, the choice fell on the "Glory" and the battleship, under the cover of ships of the fleet, made the transition to Moonzund. Since the ship did not allow the draft to go directly to the Gulf of Riga from the Finnish ship, it was necessary to go around the Irbensky Strait (the channel along which the battleship passed was immediately mined). Now the naval forces of the Gulf of Riga had one battleship, four gunboats, a division of old torpedo boats, four submarines and a minelayer. Together with the crew of "Glory" Lev Mikhailovich Galler, the flagship artilleryman of the 2 Brigade of battleships, went to Moonzund.
First fight (July 26 1915 of the year).
At dawn (03.50), the Germans began to trawl the Irbensky Strait in its middle part - the dodrednauts of the Alsace and Braunschweig, as well as the cruiser Bremen and Tethys carried out direct cover of the trawling caravan. The remaining five battleships 4-th squadron kept seaward.
The first to launch fire on the enemy were the cannon "The Terrible" and "The Brave", but they were immediately driven away by the main caliber of the German battleships. However, this is a good news for the Germans ended - they got stuck in minefields and had three ships blown up, of which the minesweeper T-52 immediately sank, and the cruiser Tethys and the destroyer S-144 were forced to stop fighting - they had to be towed by the Germans "for winter apartments ". Approximately in 10.30 approached "Glory".
It would seem that now should shed more blood. Many of those who studied history The Russian imperial fleet remembers the battle of the Black Sea battleships with the German Geben battleship, when our gunners sought hits from the 90 distance and even the 100 cable, so why should it have happened differently in the Baltic?
But alas, if for the Black Sea battleships, which were to bombard the Turkish fortresses in the Bosporus, the elevation angle of 305-mm guns was reduced to 35 degrees, at which their 331,7 kg shells were flying at 110 KBT, then for the Baltic battleships only 15 degrees were recognized as sufficient vertical pickup, which, with the same guns and shells, limited their range of 80 kbt. The "Glory", whose guns were pretty badly shot, the maximum firing range was even lower - only 78 KB. But the German battleships, whose main caliber formally even somewhat inferior to "Glory" (280-mm against 305-mm), had an elevation angle of 30 degrees, which allowed them to shoot 240-kg projectiles at a distance over 100 KBT.
The advantage in long-range did not slow down - “Glory” was shot from a distance of 87,5 kb. Psychologically, it is not easy to be under fire and not shoot back, but the Russian battleship did not open fire - there was no point in showing the enemy the true range of their guns. However, it was undesirable to launch the shells invested, but falling at a significant angle from the shells, and therefore, after the German battleships fired six volleys at Slava, the battleship went beyond the range of their fire.
The battleship "Braunschweig" - the opponent of "Glory" in the battle of July 26
In this battle, "Glory" had no damage. According to the midshipman KI who served on the battleship Mazurenko:
“On her decks during shelling, small pieces of 11-inch German shells fell on the water like peas, breaking them on the water, without causing any harm to the ship or its personnel, since decks in the battle were empty "
On this, in essence, the participation of "Glory" in the July 26 battle ended. The Germans continued to trawl the barriers of the Irbensky Bay implacably, they managed to pass through two lanes of mines, but after that they hit the third barrier to 13.00. This density of minefields shocked the German command to a certain extent; they are simply not ready for this turn of events. There was practically no chance to rub the passage to the Gulf of Riga in one day, and the coal reserves (most likely on the minesweepers) were coming to an end. Therefore, the commander of the German forces, Erhard Schmidt, gave the order to curtail the operation and retreat — it became clear to him that much more serious preparation would be needed to force the Irben Strait.
Soon after 13.00, the ships that crossed the Irbensky Strait received orders to retreat, but this did not save them from loss - in 14.05, minesweeper T-58 sank and sank in mines. And then the Germans left.
What conclusions can be made on the results of the battle 26 July 1915 g? For the first time in its history, Kayserlikhmarin ran into strong minefields, which it tried to force - but it turned out that the minesweepers attracted for this were not enough. This in no case indicated the inability of the German fleet to carry out such operations — the banal lack of experience failed, and the Germans learned from their mistakes quickly.
As for the "Glory", its appearance had only a psychological effect - the Germans saw that they were confronted by a single Russian battleship, and made various guesses about why the ship did not open fire and did not join the battle. Perhaps the presence of "Glory" was an additional argument in favor of stopping the operation, but certainly one thing - this time the German squadron was stopped by dense minefields blocking the Irbensky Strait, but by no means the defense of these barriers by the fleet.
Nevertheless, the psychological effect of the presence of a heavy Russian ship, ready to engage in combat under the cover of mines, turned out to be very great. The commander of the German naval forces in the Baltic (E. Schmidt commanded the ships at sea), Grand Admiral Prince Heinrich attributed to the destruction of "Glory" great moral importance and even the Kaiser himself demanded to sink the Russian battleship "submarines."
Second fight (3 August 1915 of the year)
The next attempt to break the Germans made only a week later. At the same time, the composition of the breakthrough group, which was to pave the way to the Gulf of Riga, underwent a qualitative change - instead of the old battleships of the 4 squadron, the dreadnoughts Nassau and Pozen had to come into the picture. The rhombic location of the main caliber 280-mm artillery on these battleships is difficult to recognize as optimal, but the ability to fire in any direction (including straight ahead) of at least six barrels (of eight out of sharp corners) gave an overwhelming advantage to two such ships over the "Glory" in an artillery battle, even if the distance between the opponents allows the Russians to fire.
The main caliber of the battleships Alsace and Braunschweig, which had fallen on the July Glory 26, represented the 280-mm SK L / 40 cannon, firing 240-kg projectiles with an initial speed of 820 m / s, while on Nassau "and" Pozeny "installed more modern 280-mm guns SK L / 45, throwing 302-kg shells with a speed of 855 m / s. Four 305 mm Slava guns fired 331,7 kg with projectiles with an initial speed of 792 m / s. Thus, dreadnought weapons in their combat capabilities came very close to the main caliber of Glory, but if a Russian battleship could fight two or four 305-mm guns, then Nassau and Posen could shoot 12-16 280 together -mm guns, surpassing the Russian battleship in the number of trunks 3-4 times. As for the firing range of the German dreadnoughts, the information about it in various sources is different, but in any case it exceeded 100 KB.
The Russians also tried to prepare for future battles. The biggest problem of the Russian ship was the insufficient range of its guns, and with this it was necessary to do something. Of course, there was no way to upgrade the gun turrets, having increased the angle of vertical guidance directly in Moonsund, but L.M. Haller suggested another option - to take water into the armadillo hull and thereby create an artificial roll in 3 degrees. This was supposed to increase the range of Russian guns on 8 KBT. Why stopped at exactly three degrees?
First, with a roll over 3 degrees, the rate of fire of the main caliber guns dropped dramatically, due to the difficulties encountered with loading the guns. Secondly, the battleship had to move along the barriers, changing the direction of movement from north to south, and with a roll of more than 3 degrees, the web interface took a lot of time. At the same time, in order to make the ship roll in 3 degrees, it was enough to take 300 tons of water (100 tons in three compartments), which took no more than 10-15 minutes. And, finally, thirdly - when the 5 degrees were inclined, the armor belt completely came out of the water and did not protect the newly formed “waterline”. What was fraught with, for example, a direct hit by enemy shells in the boiler rooms or engine rooms of the ship. The “technology” of the inclining of the battleship was tested and worked out before the second attack of the Kaiser fleet, but it must be understood - even in such a state the battleship could not shoot anymore on the 85 cables and thus lost much to Nassau and Posen.
This time, the Germans did not seek to start early in the morning - the order to advance to the Irben position on Slava was received at 12.19 and in 13.45 the battleship was at the lighthouse Tserel. In the west, there appeared numerous smokes of the German squadron - the signalmen of “Glory” counted 45-50 smokes. The battleship went south, and its speed was reduced first to 12, and then to 6 nodes. As soon as the distance between Slava and the German dreadnoughts was reduced to 120 KBT, the Germans opened fire, giving 6 volleys to no avail: all of them went short under the distance from 1,5 to 15 KBT from the Russian battleship.
In response, Slava retreated slightly to the east, in the direction opposite to the Germans (they moved from west to east). Here the battleship turned north, took the necessary amount of water and, having received a roll in 3'30 hail, gave two volleys "for checking range finders and warming guns." But both of them lay down with big failures, so the fire was “crushed”. At 15, the clock turned south again and skewed the ship. In essence, at this time, "Glory" walked back and forth across the course of the German ships breaking through the Irben Strait.
By 16 hours, the distance to the German battleships was reduced to 105-110 cable, but the Russian guns still could not send their projectiles to any enemy ships and therefore were silent. Nassau opened fire and fired nine volleys that went very close to Glory. The battleship, unable to respond, again retreated to the east. But suddenly, on Slava, they noticed a suitable target for their guns - it turns out that two German destroyers were trying to get to Riga, clinging to the southern bank of the Irbenko Strait. In 16.50, Slava immediately turned to the west, towards a German squadron bursting through and (as far as the distance allowed it) opened fire on the destroyers from its six-inch towers. The German destroyers immediately retreated, and the two Germanic Dreadnoughts struck the approaching "Glory". Such a steadfast "attention" of the 280-mm guns was absolutely not necessary for the Russian ship, especially since it could not respond with fire. "Glory" retreated, having spent about 5 minutes or a bit more under the fire of "Nassau" and "Posen". During this time, the enemy battleships had time to make at least 10 volleys.
But in 17.30, the Glory turned back to the west and went to a rapprochement - in 17.45, its guns opened fire on the minesweeper, and then on the light cruiser Bremen (on the Glory, they mistakenly assumed that they were shooting at the Prince Adalbert cruiser ). "Nassau" and "Posen" immediately responded, and their volleys went to flight, then undershoots, that is, "Glory" was within the effective fire of their guns. Five minutes "Glory" fought, and then turned back to the east and retreated - but another 7 minutes German dreadnoughts beat on her.This time, in order to be able to fire at a German cruiser that had come ahead, the Slava was forced to substitute itself under enemy fire with 10-12 minutes for five minutes.
But as soon as Slava went beyond the fire of Nassau and Posen (tentatively on 18.00), she immediately turned around and again went to meet the enemy. Some ambiguity arises here, because after this reversal of “Glory” no one shot, and the Russian battleship was able to open fire only after half an hour, at 18.30, at “some vessel,” most likely a minesweeper.
Perhaps the whole thing is that around this very time the Germans stopped trying to break through, turned around and went west. If we assume that "Glory" pursued them, trying not to enter the zone of fire of the dreadnoughts, and fired at the lagging behind enemy ship, as soon as such an opportunity presented itself, then everything falls into place. But it should be borne in mind that this is only the author's guess, the exact time of the Germans turning to the west is unknown to him. Only a few smoke remained on the horizon from 19.00 from the Germans, and Slava received orders to return to Ahrensburg, where she arrived at 23.00.
The August 3 battle ended, and this time Glory played a much more significant role than in the previous contact with the enemy, which took place on July 26. It is difficult to say how right Vinogradov is, asserting:
“The stumbling block was definitely in“ Glory ”- during the day of August 3 it forced the minesweepers to retreat more than once”
After all, before the German retreat, "Glory" managed to fire a minesweeper only once (on 17.45). But there is no doubt that the presence of the Russian battleship, which constantly “loomed” before the German detachment, forced the sweeping caravan to behave extremely cautiously, not “protruding” beyond the protection of “Nassau” and “Posen”. The Germans could not know the real range of Russian guns. It is reasonable to assume that the actions of “Glory” significantly reduced the speed of trawling the Irben position and thus did not allow the Germans to pass it during August 3.
The battleship was fired four times under the fire of the Nassau and Pozen dreadnoughts. In each of the four cases, briefly, from 5 to 12, maybe 15 minutes. Someone will remember that during the Russo-Japanese war the battleships fought for hours, but it should be understood that the fire of the German artillery from the 90-110 cable course was much more dangerous than the XiHumiro Togo in the same Tsushima. At long distances, heavy shells fall at a considerable angle to the horizon, and are able to easily penetrate the decks of old battleships, not intended to hold blows of similar strength.
In this case, the Dreadnoughts of the First World War were equipped with rangefinders and fire control systems, an order of magnitude superior to what the gunners of the Russo-Japanese war possessed. Therefore, it is not surprising that the commander of the Glory did not want to expose his ship to the risk of obtaining decisive damage for nothing, without having the slightest chance of damaging the enemy.
But in those cases when there appeared a chance to cause damage to the Kaiserlmarine ships, the Russian battleship did not hesitate for a second. Having barely noticed the possibility of attacking German destroyers (in 16.50) or firing a minesweeper and cruiser (17.45), the "Glory" immediately went towards a rapprochement with the enemy - under the fire of dreadnoughts.
There is no doubt that if the 305 tower guns of the Glory guns had, according to the model and likeness of the Black Sea battleships, the maximum angle of elevation 35 degrees, which allowed shooting at the 110 cab, the Glory battles with the German 26 fleet in July and 3 August would be much fiercer. But Russian sailors (for the umpteenth time!) Were sent into battle with criminally unfit weapons. It is difficult to find an excuse for this - a separate practical detachment of the Black Sea (led by the battleship Rostislav) under the flag of Rear Admiral GF Tsyvinsky demonstrated effective shooting at distances up to 100 cables inclusive in the 1907 year. In the next, XFUMX, the initiative of GF. Tsyvinsky was warmly approved not only by the Navy Minister, but also by the Emperor-Emperor. And, nevertheless, in 1908, Slava was forced to fight, having a maximum firing range below 1915 cable!
In essence, "Glory" was forced to withstand significantly (at times) superior enemy forces, and even with an unsuitable materiel. Nevertheless, even in such unfavorable (if not to say hopeless) conditions for themselves, the Russian sailors did not become confused, but tried to do everything that was possible, without fear of improvising.
Of course, it is difficult to expect high performance from firing at extreme distances, and even with an artificially induced roll of the ship.
In total, in the 3 battle of August, Slava spent 35 305-mm and 20 152-mm shells. It should be noted that 4 or even 8 305-mm projectiles were fired towards the enemy “to check range finders and warm shafts”, but in fact, more likely to raise the team’s morale. This is about the first two salvos of "Glory", which formed with a large undershoot - unfortunately, the sources do not indicate whether they were full volleys (i.e., of all four 305-mm trunks at once) or half ( two trunks), as usual, armadillos were shot. Accordingly, it is not possible to establish the number of shells in these volleys. You can, of course, talk about the "in vain discarded shells", but I remind you - at the first fire contact, although "Glory" was out of reach of German guns, the Germans gave not six, but as many as six volleys along the Russian battleship.
Thus, we can say that effectively, that is, with the chances of hitting the enemy, "Glory" released 27 or 31 305-mm projectiles. Let us take as a standard of accuracy the effectiveness of the German heavy artillery in the Jutland battle: by spending 3 497 280-305-mm caliber shells, the Germans achieved 121 hits, which left 3,4% of the total number of shells fired.
Focusing on this percentage of hits, we conclude that the maximum of what can be expected from "Glory" with the current consumption of 305-mm projectiles is the only hit to the enemy. But given that:
1) The range finders and fire control devices of the German battleships were more perfect than they were on the Glory.
2) The Slava projectile 27-31 expended by firing three different ships (the minesweeper, the Bremen cruiser, and then the minesweeper again), that is, the Russian battleship spent an average of no more than 10 shells on one target. Is it a lot or a little? Suffice it to recall that the newest battle cruiser Derflinger, which had a significantly better materiel than Glory, and who had a Kaiser prize for excellent shooting before the war, in the battle of the Jutland battle could only shoot at the Princess Royal on the 6 salvo, by spending a 24 projectile. This, by the way, happened when no one shot at Derflinger at all.
3) In any particular case, the combat situation has its own individual characteristics: visibility, etc. It is of interest that in battle 3 of August two Germanic dreadnought, possessing the best material part and having spent a lot more projectiles on the "Glory" than the Russian battleship released, could not achieve a single hit
In accordance with the foregoing, it can be stated that the absence of “Glory” hits in the 3 battle of August cannot serve as evidence of the poor skills of the Russian artillerymen.
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